(Sequential Teaching in Arts, Action, Research and Scholarship)
STAARS was a three-year musical theater education initiative between P94M and ArtsConnection which expanded our proven “Broadway, Jr.” program to our elementary grades in an effort to improve social/emotional, academic and daily living skills amongst our children from ages 5-14.
Funded by a generous grant from Myrna and Freddie Gershon, the Stavros S. Niarchos Foundationand Mary Jo and Ted Shen, it was a pilot project stretching over three years and five sites at the K-8 levels, with an aim to reach into high school.
After five successful years producing “Broadway Jr.” musicals, our middle school students chose to write their own musical. One of “Broadway Jr.’s” founders and the director of Music Theater International, Freddie Gershon, provided us with a special donation to work with an ArtsConnection Teaching Artist which allowed our students to compose their first original musical, “A POWERFUL DAY!” -- the story of being bullied for having autism, and fighting back through the power of musical theater and video animation. Our students received the MTI Courage in Theatre Award for their
Based on the success of that experience, we created a plan to provide musical theater instruction to students from K-8, from the moment they enroll in P94M. At the youngest age, children start with singing and dancing, then move up to performing and designing existing musicals in Grades 3 through High School. In essence, we designed a progressive, sequential performing arts curriculum as a framework through which we teach the emotional and social skills our children need to succeed in school, academics and life.
Our students and staff work together to deepen their understanding of arts education and special needs populations, leading to our presentations throughout the year. We hope you enjoy the performances!